Everybody is a champion for free speech until someone says something they don’t like (or burns a flag).
Exhibit A: My high school newspaper’s “controversial” columns on the pros and cons of friends with benefits.
The Wind-Up, St. Joseph High School’s student newspaper, will always have a special place in my heart. It’s where I got my start in journalism. Even as a high schooler (who by nature appreciated very little), I was grateful for an outlet to express myself.
I felt fortunate to attend a school that put its money where its mouth was. Not only does SJHS say it values critical thinking, but administrators back that sentiment up by funding a school newspaper!
The freedom was incredible. No wonder I fell in love with journalism, right?
It’s been a few years since I wrote for the Wind-Up, but not much has changed. As evidenced by the friends with benefits columns, students are still writing about what they want to write about.
Unfortunately, considering the numerous calls to the principal’s office, some parents and community members only support a curriculum promoting free speech when they like the topics being taught. The list of approved subjects doesn’t include mutually beneficial sex.
Open your eyes, people! Get your heads out of the sand! High school kids talk about sex. Whether you want to believe it or not, some are even having it.
In keeping with the tradition of serving as a public forum, a newspaper–even (or especially) one run by students–wouldn’t be doing its job if it wasn’t writing about issues affecting its readers.
So, hats off to the Wind-Up for tackling a “controversial” subject. Continue to promote discussion among your peers and in the community. If you’ve got people talking, you’re doing something right.
Hats off to you, too, SJHS, for standing behind the students’ right to free speech despite all the haters. You might not have agreed with what the Wind-Up had to say, but hey, the first amendment wasn’t written to protect stories about rainbows and butterflies.
Any lessons you can take away from all this, Ferris State University?